Both the role of and attitudes toward fathers have changed since 1965. Fathers in North Carolina and across the United States are taking a more active role in raising their children, and the importance of having fathers as active parents has also increased dramatically. This shift in perspective may have a profound effect on custody cases.
According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, this shift in attitudes has changed both the roles of fathers and society’s expectations. While few people consider a father to be a better primary caregiver to children, most people polled give them nearly equal standing with the mother. A more equitable parenting situation has arisen in many households with the mother and father sharing the burdens of parenting and working life.
An important change of attitude has also occurred among fathers, according to the poll. Almost as many fathers as mothers consider parenting to be central to their identity. Even more dads than moms reported that parenting was both rewarding and enjoyable all of the time.
More than 70 percent of the people polled indicated that it was important for a child to bond with both parents equally. The court generally supports this opinion when custody cases are decided. In general, every attempt is made to give children access to both parents to ensure that a bond and relationship can continue. This is good news for fathers, who may have a more difficult time asserting their rights and access to children compared to mothers. This is especially true if parents are not married. All fathers have a right to argue for custody or visitation with their children and demonstrate the importance of their relationship to the court. While attitudes about the importance of a father’s parental rights have improved, it can still be a difficult legal situation.